"Army of One" is the 13th episode and season finale of Season 3 of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It is the 39th overall episode in the series. It was written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner, directed by John Patterson and originally aired on May 20, 2001.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr.
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
- John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco
- Federico Castelluccio as Furio Giunta
- Robert Funaro as Eugene Pontecorvo
- Katherine Narducci as Charmaine Bucco
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
- and Joe Pantoliano as Ralph Cifaretto
- Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
- Tobin Bell as Major Carl Zwingli
- Denise Borino as Ginny Sacrimoni
- Jason Cerbone as Jackie Aprile, Jr.
- Vince Curatola as Johnny Sack
- Joseph R. Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore
- Lola Glaudini as Agent Deborah Ciccerone
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Melissa Marsala as Kelli Aprile
- Frank Pando as Agent Grasso
- Frank Pellegrino as Bureau Chief Frank Cubitoso
- Matt Servitto as Agent Dwight Harris
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
- Michael K. Williams as Ray-Ray
- Frances Ensemplare as Marianucci Gualtieri
Jackie Aprile, Jr. is forced into hiding at a housing project in Boonton shortly after his failed armed robbery at Eugene Pontecorvo's Saturday night card game. Jackie calls Tony Soprano at his home and tries to tell him where he is and plead for help. Tony tells him to stay where he is and to talk to Ralph Cifaretto who is making the final call on what will happen. Tony refuses to intervene, saying he has had enough sentimentality over Jackie Sr. Tony then meets Ralphie, who has been hesitating over his judgment of Jackie, and asks that Ralphie make his decision in a "timely fashion". Ralphie had already dispatched Vito Spatafore to stay near the Boonton projects and find Jackie in case he tries to leave. But after the discussion with Tony, Ralph decides to act. When Jackie leaves the apartment to get some air, he is shot in the back of the head by Vito.
Meanwhile, A.J. and a friend in Verbum Dei high school steal answers to a geometry test and are later fooled into confessing to the act by the school's principal. A.J. is promptly expelled from Verbum Dei permanently. Tony becomes enraged when he hears the news and decides to "save" A.J. before it is too late. His solution is to send his son to military school. Carmela receives a phone call from Marie, Rosalie Aprile's sister, informing her that Jackie has been shot and killed by "drug dealers." Tony uses Jackie Jr.'s death as an example for A.J. to start straightening him up by telling him, "You see?"
Paulie Gualtieri demands that Tony have a sitdown with Ralphie and him. When the request is finally honored, Paulie states that he gave Ralph valuable information about a job that Ralphie's crew subsequently pulled off which Paulie feels he is entitled to half of the take ($50,000 out of $100,000). Tony listens to the case and orders that Ralphie turn over $12,000, much to Paulie's shock and dismay. When Paulie tries to convince Tony to reconsider, Silvio Dante intervenes, stating that Tony has made the decision and the sitdown is over.
Uncle Junior's cancer is in remission, leaving him physically competent for a RICO trial and his house arrest has been cancelled. With Big Pussy Bonpensiero missing (actually deceased), Agent Dwight Harris recommends that they should start looking for any incriminating information via Christopher Moltisanti, who is moving through the ranks ever closer to Tony. Bureau Chief Frank Cubitoso enlists Agent Deborah Ciccerone on an undercover mission to befriend Chris's fiancée Adriana La Cerva and report back on whatever she can find.
A.J. is taken to an appointment at the Hudson Military Institute with the military school's administrator Major Zwingli, who lays out the basic schedule for students at the school. This includes an "0530" wake-up, "2200" lights out, evening study, drills, and no television. Zwingli has a talk with Tony and Carmela about the rigorous program and how he believes it will benefit their child. Carmela is still concerned since she believes they are training him to be a "professional killer". Tony tries to convince her that their son would be learning discipline and respect, not violence.
At Jackie's wake, the grieving Rosalie and her daughter Kelli Aprile are visited by the Sopranos. When Meadow sees Jackie lying in his casket, she begins to cry uncontrollably. Tony and Carmela try to comfort her, but are embarrassed when Rosalie notes the low attendance rate; the funeral has coincided with Super Bowl Sunday, a busy betting time. When everyone settles down, Carmela views Jackie lying in his casket. That night, Carmela decides to support Tony's decision to send A.J. to military school.
As A.J. prepares to depart for the military school, he puts on his dress uniform. Tony urges him to put on the military hat that came with the uniform, but A.J. resists. Tony, agitated at the insubordinate attitude, gets off the sofa and approaches his son menacingly. A.J. complies and puts on the hat. A.J then looks at himself in the mirror and, in tears, asks not to be sent away. Tony tells him to stop and reaffirms his decision, saying that "he needs toughening up." A.J. promptly suffers a panic attack and collapses. In therapy, Tony relates his dismay to Dr. Melfi that A.J. has inherited his psychiatric affliction and becomes teary. He says there was a story back in Italy about his father's great-grandfather who suffered a panic attack and lost control of a donkey cart, plummeting to his death. Tony says it is "the dreaded Soprano gene". As a result of the panic attack, it was determined A.J. was not physically qualified to enter Hudson Military Academy. Tony fears that his son is headed towards an uncertain future.
On the day of Jackie's burial, Christopher and Silvio are arrested at the cemetery for illegal gambling. Uncle Junior, just arriving for the funeral, witnesses this and promptly runs back to his car, almost leaving Bobby Baccalieri behind. After the burial, a small group of people return to Rosalie's to comfort her. There, during drinks, Meadow is involved in an argument with Jackie's sister Kelli about the most likely causes of his death. Kelli states that members of the Mafia and their families are involved in killing him, while Meadow defends the version previously instilled in her by her mother that the illegal drug trade claimed his life.
The funeral attendees then proceed to Nuovo Vesuvio for a luncheon. At the restaurant parking lot, Paulie encounters Johnny Sack and expresses his contempt for Tony's ruling in Ralphie's favor, telling Johnny to offer his services to the New York family boss, Carmine Lupertazzi. Back inside, Janice Soprano is flirting with Ralph Cifaretto (who had distanced himself from Rosalie since her son’s death) when Silvio and Chris enter the restaurant, having quickly made bail. Encouraged, Junior begins to sing the Italian love song "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart"). Everyone is touched, except for a very drunk Meadow who throws pieces of bread at Junior as he sings. Meadow leaves the restaurant and is confronted by her father outside; she tearfully denounces the funeral proceedings as "bullshit" and runs across the street, almost getting hit by traffic as Tony looks on concerned. Tony returns to the dinner, quietly telling Carmela that Meadow likely is headed back to her college dorm. He then puts his arm around A.J. as the three listen to Junior sing.
- Agent Deborah Ciccerone: An F.B.I. agent assigned to go undercover as Adriana's "new best friend".
- Marianucci Gualtieri: Paulie's mother who moves into Green Grove nursing home.
- In the original 2001 broadcast, Agent Deborah Ciccerone was played by actress Fairuza Balk. However due to scheduling conflicts, she was not able to return for season four. For the repeats and DVD releases, Balk was replaced by Lola Glaudini, who went on to play the role permanently in 2002.
- This is the final Sopranos episode to feature the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the opening credits, due to the 9/11 attacks that left over 2,000 people dead or injured.
References to prior episodes
- Tony and Carmela watch a commercial for Dr. Fried's urology clinic, whose production was featured in the previous episode, "Amour Fou". Dr. Fried tends to Furio's gun injury.
- Although it is never explicitly mentioned in the episode, Jackie, Jr., Vito Spatafore, and Adriana LaCerva are cousins, through their uncle Richie Aprile. When Vito's brother Bryan is injured in the episode "Another Toothpick", Jackie, Jr. says that Bryan is his cousin.
- When Tony Jr. calls Meadow at Columbia, Creeper Lagoon's song "Wonderful Love" can be heard playing in the background.
- During Jackie's wake, Junior's performance of "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") was actually sung by Dominic Chianese himself.
- The song sang by Junior before "Core 'ngrato", while he is at the table, is "Malafemmena".
- The French song that follows "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") is "Parlez-moi d'amour" performed by Lucienne Boyer and written by Jean Lenoir.
- The song in Spanish that follows the French version of "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") is "La Enramada" a Bolero written by Graciela Olmos and performed by a Mexican Trío romántico.
- The organ music played during Jackie's wake is "Ombra mai fu" from G.F. Handel's opera Serse.
- The song played over the end credits is "#8" (unofficially titled [blur] aka [circles]) by Aphex Twin, from his album, Selected Ambient Works Volume II.
- As Meadow is tossing bread at Junior, Meadow sings a line from Britney Spears' song, "Oops!... I Did It Again"; the original recording of that song was previously featured in "Employee of the Month".
*When Tony and Carmela are arguing over A.J. being enrolled in a military academy, Tony says that this is the 21st Century and "the Army hardly goes to war anymore". Tony's statement was an ironic one. Four months after this episode aired, the United States was hit with its worst terrorist attack yet. 2001 was also the same year US forces entered Afghanistan in an attempt to root out the 9/11 conspirators.